Shavi Lomi: Georgian dining at its best
I dodge the huge pile of construction rubble outside wooden doors covered in graffiti depicting traditional Georgian’s enjoying a feast. The doors open onto a garden with long tables and iron benches, lush greenery, and exquisite attention to detail. Like many places in Tbilisi, Shavi Lomi is hard to find. However, if you know where to look and you will find one of the best restaurants in Georgia. Tucked away on an unremarkable street in the quiet neighborhood of Marjanishvili, this very remarkable restaurant has been at the forefront of Georgian cuisine’s modernization since it first opened its doors in 2011.
The interior of the restaurant feels like a very hip living room as the local and Georgian crowd sit in upholstered armchairs around oval tables decked with floral cloths. On the wall, above a piano, there is a painting of a regal black lion. Shavi Lomi means black lion in Georgian.
The design and the menu represent the best of Georgian. Shavi Lomi was one of the first restaurants to offer a modernized version of Georgian cuisine. You won’t find artery-clogging khachapuri laden with butter or khinkali on its menu. Instead, expect lavish spices and aromatic herbs, and dishes such as rabbit, chicken in blackberry sauce, and rich ajapsandali.
Despite the cold of winter, our group of 6 sits in a welcoming corner on the outside terrace. We order cheese bread, ajapsandali, beans in a clay pot, rabbit, pork stew, chicken in blackberry sauce, and house red wine. The quality of every dish is impressive. We especially enjoyed the cheese bread made with stringy melted cheese and crispy dough. The meal came to 36 lari per person, very reasonable considering we drank 3 litres of wine.
What to order
Corn Masa with Pkhali
Crunchy cornbreads topped with beet, walnut and spinach paste.
A traditional cheese dish from Samegrelo in Georgia. The cheese rolls are soaked in sour cream, cottage cheese, and milk. Then, they are flavoured with mint, salt and pepper.
Chicken Breast Stewed in Walnut-Pomegranate Sauce
Succulent chicken breast covered in sweet walnut-pomegranate sauce, simultaneously sticky and light. The combination of sweet and savoury is really tasty.
The apple pie at Shavi Lomi is said to be the best in Tbilisi. The sweetened apples and crispy pastry, flavoured with cinnamon, make a delicious end to dinner at Shavi Lomi.
30 Qvlividze Street, Tbilisi || Facebook
+995 322 96 09 56
P.S. If you are wondering where to go for a drink after your meal, our guide to bars in Tbilisi will point you in the right direction.